In an explosive investigation that drew the attention of many average Texans over the weekend, WFAA Television in Dallas/Fort Worth put a bright spotlight on the problem of worker misclassification. It’s a problem the Construction Citizen team has exposed for years and we greatly appreciate any time other media outlets take up the cause as well.
This most recent outrage came to light after three men working as independent subcontractors underneath Thanksgiving Tower in Dallas died in a horrific accident. But, the companies involved have denied damages to their families. How can that be? From the story:
Although they were little more than laborers, the State of Texas allows them to be called "independent contractors." That means they can get no workers compensation, and have no federal income tax or Social Security tax deducted from their paychecks.
Three independent contractors' deaths at Thanksgiving Tower are the subject of legal action, but the families of the three men will receive no compensation for their deaths. Byron Harris has more on the "invisible workers."
Many independent contractors in the construction industry receive no paychecks at all, only cash at the end of a work week.
"A quote, 'independent contractor' works for wages," said Domingo Garcia, an attorney for Oscar Esparza and Nicacio Carrillo. "He's told what to do, when to report for work. [He's] an employee under any condition. But construction companies continuously mis-classify them in order to avoid liability."
Please take a few minutes to watch the WFAA report below: